DISCLAIMER: This review contains minor spoilers for the original A QUIET PLACE, as it’s impossible to discuss this film without discussing that one.
A QUIET PLACE PART II is directed by John Krasinski. The film stars Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, and Djimon Hounsou.
Abbott family patriarch Lee has died, leaving his widow Evelyn to find a new home for her children where they can be safe, even in these trying times with sound-sensitive monsters still on the loose. Setting out and facing the expected obstacles, son Marcus is wounded, but the family reunites with a former friend, Emmett, who has also been living in fear of the creatures. Daughter Regan, despite initially being apprehensive, teams up with Emmett to rescue survivors stranded on an island, while Evelyn must fend for herself getting Marcus the medical supplies he needs to survive.
A QUIET PLACE, released in 2018, which starred director John Krasinski and his real-life wife Emily Blunt, ended up being a surprise hit with critics and moviegoers, so the inevitable sequel was bound to be just around the corner. Originally slated for release in March of 2020, the second film was one of many inevitably pushed back by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over a year later, we finally have the second installment of what could very well become an ongoing film franchise. The movie, like its predecessor, is scary, violent, and brutal, despite being rated PG-13. A QUIET PLACE PART II gives us world building, moving the story beyond the restrictive settings of its predecessor, and even a flashback to when the alien invasion began. It hits the high notes and then some. It’s not quite a perfect film, but Krasinski has pure gold on his hands with what could be the a new big movie franchise, and the running time of under 100 minutes keeps things perfectly paced and moving along.
Following up A QUIET PLACE was not an easy task, but the film manages to stay true to the original while never feeling like a retread. The casting (and, of course, a fairly small cast) remains a great strength. While Blunt and Jupe are solid, the real star here is Millicent Simmonds, who plays a girl taking her first steps into a larger world. Deaf in real life and in character, she gives the film’s most convincing performance, with much of the movie told from her perspective. The addition of Cillian Murphy as a disgraced man trying to make amends in an apocalyptic world of sorts, also stands as a promising addition. Other human characters (I won’t spoil anything here) show how paranoid and relentless survivors of the attacks have become, perhaps even being a bigger threat than the creatures. The late game addition of underrated actor Djimon Hounsou is a surprise, but in the best of ways.
The writing and direction are sharp once more, keeping things moving along at the perfect pace; the end result doesn't even exceed the 100 minute mark. The situations are as believable and suspenseful as can be believed in a world ridden with deadly invaders who pose a threat to all. Krasinski himself appears in a newly-filmed prologue in which we see the beginning of the alien invasion, long before the first film, beautifully giving us some world building the first film didn’t (though perhaps rightfully so). I’m often opposed to film plots that split cast members and characters apart, but here it works exceedingly well, and the only real disappointment is how abruptly the movie ends. You’ll want even more. I know I did.
A QUIET PLACE PART II beautifully expands the desolate world seen in the first film, while still giving its stars, old and new alike, a chance to shine throughout. It’s one of the best films of 2021 so far, and it was certainly work the wait. Very highly recommended!
Rating: Three-and-a-half stars out of four.